“We have behaved well, we have been quiet, even meek. But this is outrageous”. Since last Thursday the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, ruled out the public return to the stands of the stadiums of First and Second Division In the last days of the championship, the atmosphere in professional football clubs (represented by LaLiga) fluctuates between exhaustion and ira.
The deaf pissed off football has been brewing in general for months, fueled by news about the return of viewers to modest football (even more hit by the pandemic than the elite).
? NEWS | Full capacity for the #RayoMajadahondaPoblense next Sunday, November 22.
? Thank you very much for your support, fans!
– CF Rayo Majadahonda (@RMajadahonda) November 18, 2020
But it was this past week, while LaLiga and the Higher Sports Council They were waiting for the approval of the Government to apply its protocol of partial return to the bleachers, when the clubs have finally run out of the May stones and raised the tone of the discussion. This Saturday, Roberto Bermúdez de Castro, attached to the LaLiga presidency, published an open letter in the newspaper ABC about the reopening of the stadiums, with the title ‘Marca España en las terraces’, two days after the Minister of Culture and Sports José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, confirm that “for the moment and in the short term there will be no public in the football or basketball stadiums […] It is not a sports criterion, but a health one”.
Cinema, theater and tennis
The situation of spectator sport in the aftermath of the state of alarm it is striking. Non-professional football allows a percentage of the capacity (up to even 50%) for months, since its management is the responsibility of the autonomous communities (and therefore escapes the restrictions of the central Executive). Like a good number of shows (cinema, theater or music) that have been saved from economic ruin thanks to the opening of closed areas –and therefore less safe in sanitary terms–, sometimes with a single separation seat. The recently held tennis tournament Count of Godó admitted 1,000 people per day and caused controversy for some pictures.
This week the Mutua Madrid Open: they will be able to enter 4,800 people every day in the Magic Box (a semi-closed enclosure). In the New Nursery, stadium of the Badajoz, two weeks ago half of the capacity was filled for the Badajoz-Castilla match of Segunda B (they attended 7.000 people). In First and Second, however, the bolt is complete.
The lowering of the incidence of the virus and the improved rate of vaccination prompted both the Government and the CSD to cautiously express their intention to gradually and controlled reopen the bleachers of the stadiums of the 42 professional soccer teams, under rigorous health and social distance measures. The clubs had already carried out their management plans. According to ‘El Periódico’, the Barcelona Soccer Club had everything ready to welcome fans in the crucial meeting next Saturday against the leader, the Atlético de Madrid (and also in his last home game, against Celta): between a 10% and a 25% of the seats.
The protocol LaLiga contemplated that each club decided its system for awarding tickets. The entries would include the name of the fan, their ID, the time of access to the stadium, the access gate, the town number, the stadium plan, the obligation to wear the mask and take the temperature, in addition to the mandatory code of conduct. There would be no tickets in any case – not even if they were left over – for the team’s fans visitor.
The capacity would oscillate between 10% and 25% of the available seats. The minimum official safety distance between the spectators would be maintained, who would be placed two by two, in alternate places. LaLiga advanced that safety distances should be guaranteed at all times in the organization of the colas input and layout hallways, encouraging viewers to come directly to your access door and to your locality. There would be a first check ring basic at an adequate distance from access to the stadium.
The fans would be spread over five groups, the last the most vulnerable people, who would be assigned a time slot to access the stadium (two hours), up to 15 minutes in group 5 (people less vulnerable). The ticket will be delivered only by electronic means or certified mail, but never at physical points; The sale and consumption of food in the stands is prohibited, as is smoking. Pandemic football.
The duality of La Fonteta
The refusal of Health it has emptied the bottle of patience of the clubs, as this newspaper has been able to verify in various ways (including the ACB League, which is very economically weakened, which suffers from the same restrictions). They say they are “fed up” with the fact that fans are admitted in parallel in the rest of the categories and modalities. (This weekend, in the pavilion of The Fonteta of Valencia, Valencia Basket of the Women’s League was about to conquer the League against 1.500 aficionados at 12:30 noon. Five hours later, the men’s team played against Students an ACB match in the same pavilion, totally empty).
“The calendar sheets fall and there is still no objective reason to explain why the LaLiga seats are still empty, but you can attend the theater, a concert or a futsal game”, Writes Bermúdez de Castro in the aforementioned article (where he speaks directly about “Arbirariedad”): “We understand that this return of the public does not occur at the same time in all territories, but that is something that the teams have already accepted and voted unanimously in the delegated commission and that would not mean for them a blow to the integrity of the championship”.
Sources from the Ministry of Culture and Sports recognize a possible contradiction explained by the need to continue reducing the incidence of the virus; they also wonder “If it made sense to mount all this now for four games”. The employers of the clubs regret that they have been requesting a progressive opening for months, that a few income are very welcome after 15 months of closure and, especially, that it would be “a excellent testing ground for the protocol, find out how it works ”with a view to the beginning (in August) of the season 2021-22.
There would also be the factor “Emotional, sentimental, intangible” (In the words of a manager of a Primera club): “We have the most interesting League in recent times, and the experience of some of the public would be an impressive incentive for the players and a sign of esperanza for all the fans… that the worst has happened ”.